Giving Compass’ Take:
• The IPCC special report on oceans and ice calls attention to four main points regarding the cryosphere, ocean warming, climate change’s threat to our livelihood, and the need for climate action now.
• How can the IPCC report help garner support for climate resilience plans? Where do donors fit in?
• Read about how no ecosystem on the earth is safe from climate change.
The world’s leading group of climate scientists, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a new report finding that unique and vital environments on Earth are being threatened by climate change — from the highest mountains to the deepest depths of the ocean and to both the north and south poles.
Here are four highlights you should know:
- What is the “Cryosphere” and Why Does it Matter? Before diving into the findings, it’s crucial to understand what the “cryosphere” is and why it’s essential to the climate system. The cryosphere is all of the Earth’s frozen water: ice caps, glaciers, permafrost, shelf ice, and snow found on every continent, but especially at the poles.
- The Ocean is “Taking the Heat” from Climate Change Although the ocean has often been excluded from key conversations on the climate crisis, the special report spotlights how it’s been “taking the heat” all along. The ocean has been absorbing 90% of the heat over the last 50 years and 20-30% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions since the 1980s, helping to buffer the amount of warming experienced on land — but not without consequence.
- Lives and Livelihoods are at Stake For people living on the coast and low-lying islands, sea-level rise and storm events will increase. Around 1.9 billion people and over half of the world’s megacities reside on the coast, meaning that more frequent extreme events like hurricanes will inflict more destruction. Some small islands may become uninhabitable.
- We Need Climate Action and Conservation Now The consequences of climate change are most severe for the ocean and cryosphere — and ultimately ourselves — if we do not rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The decisions we make now will have ripple effects for generations to come.
Read the full article about highlights from the IPCC by Justin Kelly and Monica Dean at the United Nations Foundation.
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